Knowing what to do when you observe a situation regarding alcohol that makes you uncomfortable is important on a college campus. Learning how to recognize potentially dangerous situations and how to respond to them can prepare you for later events.
What To Do When Someone is Overly Intoxicated
Continually monitor the intoxicated person
Check their breathing and wake them often to make sure they are not unconscious
Do not exercise the person
Do not allow the person to drive a car or ride a bicycle
Do not give the person food, liquid, medicines or drugs to "sober them up"
Do not give the person a cold shower: the shock of cold could cause unconsciousness
Remember: The only thing that can sober a drunk person is time!
How To Tell if Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning
If the person is breathing less than thirteen times per minute, or stops breathing for periods of eight seconds or more, CALL 911.
If the person is asleep and you are unable to wake him or her, CALL 911.
Look at the person's skin: if it is cold, clammy, pale or bluish in color, CALL 911.
If the person is continually, repeatedly or uncontrollably vomiting, CALL 911.
Other Important Factors When Dealing With An Overly Intoxicated Person
Stay with a person who is vomiting. Try to keep them sitting up. If he/she must lie down, keep the person on their side with their head turned to the side. Watch for choking and if they do begin to choke, get help immediately. CALL 911.
If the intoxicated person is unconscious lay them down and place them in the Bacchus Maneuver. CALL 911.
The Bacchus Maneuver:
1. Raise the arm closest to you above their head. Prepare to roll them towards you.
2. Gently roll them toward you, guarding their head from hitting the floor. The head should rest in front of the arm, not on it.
3. Tilt the head up to maintain the airway. Tuck their nearest hand under their cheek to help maintain head tilt and raise the face off the floor.
4. Check on them often
If a person drinks alcohol in combination with any other drug, the combination effect could be fatal.
If the person is not in need of medical attention and is going to "sleep it off," be sure to position the person on his/her side placing a pillow behind their head to prevent them from rolling out of this position. This is important in preventing choking if the person should vomit. Stay with him/her and wake him/her up frequently! Even though the person is sleeping, alcohol levels may continue to rise, causing them to become unconscious rather than asleep. If at any time you cannot wake the person up, call 911!
Interested in learning how to educate others about the effects and dangers of alcohol? Consider becoming a H.E.A.L.T.H. peer educator.
For more information about bystander intervention register for our open sessions, Panthers StepUP! Click here to register!